... plus an easy mile at the start. That's what I had planned for today, 8 miles at lunchtime is not something I've done for a very long time. Not since I started running a couple of years ago and tried to go from 3 to 8 miles in a couple of weeks and promptly injured myself.
So, as I'm more used to longer runs now the result should be slightly less traumatic. I class this as a long tempo run (I will have to do 8 and even 9 miles at tempo pace in a few weeks) so I was aiming at averaging 10K pace plus 30 -35 seconds for the 7 miles, around 8:50 - 8:55 pace. I set the zone and the duration of the tempo into the Garmin, I would just run an easy mile before kicking the workout off.
I did have a fair faff before setting off out the door today for some reason. I had decided to do some exploring, rather than head directly to the beach I wanted to explore some tracks, e.g Green Drive. I had hoped it would be a couple of miles of nice woodland trail, I was to be disappointed though. The weather had improved somewhat as it was gloriously sunny but pretty windy.
So I set off out the pedestrian only gate onto Shepherds Road and my Shuffle died about two seconds after I switched it on, guess who forgot to charge it. I was a bit miffed as I prefer road runs with my Ipod but I had no choice but to carry on, to be honest I didn't miss it.
I was basically going to do the first couple of miles of my cycle commute route home but rather that do exactly the same I found some cycle paths which cut the corner off. If they hadn't changed the gate I'd just come out of to pedestrian only access these paths would have been really useful to cut out the traffic lights.
I was onto Blackpool Road and just decided to follow the cycle route signs straight away, I don't normally go this way on my bike as it just routes you the long way round a housing estate and pops you back out on the same road further down, a bit pointless really. However, I was trying to keep an eye out for any woodland paths so I headed down there. No way of getting anywhere but the estate so I just followed it round and picked up my main cycle commute route. I'd done an easy mile by this point so I kicked off the tempo part and tried to keep a steady pace.
I used the lap pace screen all the time as it was showing me my average pace rather than current pace. My plan was to do a couple of slower miles and some faster miles, to average 8:50 - 8:55 over the whole 7 miles. It felt a nice pace to run at actually. These long tempo runs are supposed to be getting me used to running at close to marathon pace (which will be slower than this, oh yes!).
I could see some woods but I couldn't find any way of getting into them (there isn't, that's why). I knew I had spotted a way on to Green Drive when cycling in in the morning, it was pretty much where I turned off the main road as I entered Lytham (yes, Lytham). So I just decided to head for that.
I got there and turned onto Green Drive. It wasn't what I was expecting as it was tarmaced but it was lovely, lots of birds tweeting (glad I didn't have my Ipod on here) and trees etc. I could see the bluebells starting to push up already so need to come through here in the spring. They had an information board which was very informative about all the trees in that section but I was disappointed to learn that it was only a kilometre long. It was part of the original driveway to Lytham (yes, Lytham) Hall.
I was soon back out on a main road and I wondered where to go next as I still had about 3 miles or so to complete. I decided as I'd come back to Ansdell (ahem) that I should just head down to the beach. The road I was on would take me straight down so off I went. As I was climbing the railway bridge I came across another signpost describing a woodland path. There was a path that ran from Lytham (yes, Lytham) to Ansdell, following the railway line. Now, I thought I was in Ansdell so I looked on the other side of the road trying to see where the path went to Lytham but couldn't see one. I continued running.
As I crossed over the railway and started heading down the other side I noticed the Railway Tavern.....but that's in Lytham? Finally the lights went on and I realised I was in bloody Lytham not Ansdell, what a clown. So back over the bridge and onto the woodland track to Ansdell, which was just lovely.
It took me back out onto Blackpool Road, I still had some distance to do so I decided to head to the beach. When I got there the wind was very strong, its never a good sign when a flock of seagulls are sheltering from the wind behind a car rather than flying. It was really hard work running against the wind, its was hard to breathe as well as the air was whipping past my face so fast. I actually dropped down off the prom onto the tracks beside Fairhaven Lake to get away from it, I can usually stick it out but I took my cue from the seagulls today and made it easier for myself.
I was feeling very hungry by this point and I still had the last mile to complete and time was really, really getting on so I speeded up a bit to get back to work. I completed the 7 miles but had 3/4 of a mile still to run back to work, which I ran faster than ideal as it was getting on for 13:45.
So quick shower - the showers in R block are just a revelation, they have.....a radiator in the room...no more freezing my arse off in baltic room after stepping out the shower, total bliss. Then I inhale some food, I am so hungry. Then I look at the Garmin, the splits for the 7 miles are:
8.21 (I'm late!)
I averaged 8:43 over the 7 miles so not bad. I ran 8.9 miles in total on a bowl of porridge at 9am and a slice of banana loaf at 11, no wonder I was hungry. Now that I've got a better idea of where these tracks are I should be able to link them up into a big loop with some beach running too.